COVID-19 v Lyme disease

You’ve been outside in your garden, or neighbouring park or countryside, perhaps spending a lunch break sitting on the grass. You don’t feel at all well. You think of COVID-19, and check the NHS website. Not conclusive. What else might it be?

Try to avoid contact with others, as recommended, but if it doesn’t go away, review your symptoms and also consider whether a tiny tick from the garden could have attached to you and given you Lyme disease. Found a tick? Remove it correctly as soon as you can to minimise disease passing to you.

Quick check of main early symptoms where “Yes” means fairly common but not in everyone. The darker red – the most significant.

Check yourself for a roughly circular red rash – especially on parts of your body you can’t easily see. Take a photo for your GP if you see one.

Lyme disease is a tiny risk compared with COVID-19 – very few UK ticks carry it, and it gives rise to perhaps 10,000 cases per year in the UK, though precise numbers are not known. Unlike COVID-19, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection and when recognised early it is easily treated with antibiotics.

Awareness of ticks is the key and will help you avoid this illness and not add to the NHS burden.

If your GP needs some pointers, suggest the NICE Guideline.